“IPTV is traditionally delivered product / service sent over a CAT5/6 cable network, requiring either a small set-top box or an IPTV decoder to be built into the TV screen or behind it. The TV or video signals are converted into streams of data which pass over the network in the same way as other data traffic. The issue we have with yachts is ‘where the content originates’, as traditionally it’s outside of the vessel the bandwidth required to bring that source code onboard is massive especially now we have UHD (4K) content.
The IPTV system can deliver the viewer a much wider range of channels than they would normally receive from the ‘local broadcaster’ (Free to air). These might include foreign language channels from other countries or additional pay TV services. There appear to be mixed interpretations of ‘IPTV’ and we can use it practically and economically onboard.
1st is ‘free to air; decoder system – typically and traditionally this is what you will find a hotel. You can have up to 24 receivers + built into a 1u rack space (45mm high). This would enable you to have 100’s & 100’s of channels from any DVB-S/ S2, DVB-T/T2, DVB-ASI, DVB-C source on this one 1U chassis you can also input local HD / UHD sources into this module which again will be streamed over IP to each zone of the vessel in UHD. This is a very efficient and easy way to install and use IPTV… onboard.
However, the issue comes when you want ‘Sky’ in particular as Sky will not allow their protocols to be openly used thus you will still require one box per zone where you want to watch individual channels. You can still send these signals around the yacht using IP but it is, in theory, is still a locally sourced signal.
The 2nd form of ’IPTV’ is true IP sourced content – this where massive bandwidth is required (not a problem in our homes) and where the IP source is firstly streamed to the vessel then it sis steamed around the boat as described above. Moving forward all new builds and refit installations should be cabling ready for this type of streaming capability with even fibre cables to each zone. Currently, if you know the cruising location of the vessel one 1U chassis can be installed (removing the need for many receiver boxes) this can be populated with the area CAN+M cards and free to air services can be sent all over via IP. But until bandwidth prices come down – truly streamed content (from outside of the boat) will be very expensive and unpractical in some instances.”